Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy, Centurion

Centurion goes subcontinental

The fans turned Supersport Park into an Asian outpost for the day

Tilisha Govender

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Pakistan fans invaded the field after their team's victory, India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion, September 26, 2009
The Pakistan fans bring the noise (and the flags) after the last wicket © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni | Gautam Gambhir | Imran Nazir
Series/Tournaments: ICC Champions Trophy

Team supported
I went into the game supporting India, like I always do. As the game went on, however, I discovered a renewed appreciation for the Pakistani team - their passion, their focus and their will to win. It was somewhat reminiscent of a successful Pakistani team of the nineties.

One thing I'd have changed about the match
Being an Indian supporter, I would have given Dhoni another lifeline with the bat, and brought him in further down the order - after Suresh Raina.

Wow moment
As a Team India supporter, for me it was the fall of Imran Nazir's wicket. A dangerous batsman once he gets going, seeing him caught by Harbhajan Singh off the bowling of Ashish Nehra for just 20 runs was a great relief.

Player watch
Sitting in front of the Indian dressing room, I found it amusing how the players were constantly greeted and asked to smile for photos. One Pakistani player was greeted by the same fan every time he ran up and down the stairs. Considering the player was the waterboy for the day, I'm sure this fan said hi about 16 times! I was impressed with the patience of most players. The new generation of Indian stars could learn a thing or two about friendly demeanour from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

Shot of the day
Although there was not a lot of big hitting in the game, the most memorable shot had to be the massive six scored by Gautam Gambhir off one of the free-hits. It was met with rapturous applause and a sea of Indian flags flying high.

Crowd meter
Supersport Park seemed like the Asian subcontinent for the day. Both teams had immense support and there was no shortage of Hindi and Urdu curses and compliments to be heard. Naturally, the likes of Dhoni, Bhajji and Sachin got the biggest cheers, but there were also sporting cheers and encouragement heard for the younger players like Virat Kohli and Umar Akmal. At one point, somewhere around the 26th over, the chanting was more competitive than the cricket on the field.

Entertainment
There was lots of Hindi music heard blaring over the PA system. The songs got the crowd pumped up and on their feet. As far as fan behaviour went, the most entertaining thing about the match had to be the middle-aged Indian supporter behind me jumping on his seat and gyrating his hips to the sound of "Jai Ho." Even the ever-so-serious Indian dressing room could not contain their amusement.

ODI v Twenty20
Having been to most of the IPL games in Johannesburg and Pretoria this year, it was a little bit of an adjustment to find myself sitting through 100 overs again. But I think it's safe to say, after all the enjoyment of the India-Pakistan Champions Trophy contest, that one-dayers are nowhere near becoming obsolete.

Banner of the day
There weren't many banners or posters in my view, as I was not on the grass. I did have a few ideas for a poster of my own however. One would definitely have been: "Team India's new theme song - Let's get it on..."

Overall
All in all, the game provided action, drama, quality cricket and great sportsmanship. I'm sure most fans left happy, feeling like they had gotten their money's worth. Aside from the fact that my team lost on the day, it was a fantastic day out.

Marks out of 10
I would rate the India-Pakistan game a generous 9. Let's take away a point for the loss!

Tilisha Govender is a marketing communications executive for a global market research house. A South African Indian, she is passionate about cricket and her heritage, and a vociferous India supporter. A traveller at heart, Tilisha currently calls Johannesburg home. A singer, songwriter and hopefully soon-to-be sportswriter, she has been flirting with fame for some time now. But at the end of the day, you can always find her catching up on Dhoni and other cricket headlines on Cricinfo

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